Then when she finally had, she had lost him. She had lost track of the number of times she had curled up in her hammock and cried herself to sleep, mourning him. Leo had been inspired to fight harder and fiercer because of the loss of Mike. The Yellow Ranger had been determined to prove herself worthy of his love, should he ever come back.
She'd never doubted that he would somehow, either. Uttering it the previous night to Leo had just been the verbal confirmation of everything she'd thought from the moment she'd seen him falling into the crevice. Now that he was back. . .she was too scared to do anything about it.
Oh, it was no use. He let his eyes slide over to the one person he'd been wanting to see again ever since he had fallen. Maya of Miranoi, the Yellow Galaxy Ranger. When they had looked into each other's eyes for the first time, so long before, he had felt as if he had seen something in there: a part of himself. The Stingwinger attack and the trip to her homeworld had interfered before either of them could say anything, and then he had fallen. One of the last thoughts that had went through his mind had been that he would never be able to tell her how he felt.
She's probably already started dating. She's so beautiful, someone probably snapped her up before I even got to the bottom of the crevice. He could see how close all five of the Rangers had grown; and he had gained a few glimpses of them through the eyes of Magna Defender over the last couple of months. She was probably already involved with one of them. If that was true, he would simply have to live with it. It wasn't as if he couldn't live without her.
She glanced around at the others. Leo was still staring in shock at his brother, and with an expression of awe and delight that she had never seen on it before. Damon and Kai were talking with Mike, filling him in on the things that he had missed. Maya had her back to him, literally forcing herself to look out the window. Kendrix could tell she was holding herself back by strength of will alone by the tension in her shoulders. She nodded briefly to herself as they slid into the MegaShip's hidden docking bay. It still startled her that such a large ship could go in and out without Terra Venture's sensors detecting them, but she suspected Damon and Kai to have had something to do with that. She'd look into it later. For now, she had a tiny bit of matchmaking to do.
To swim in the river with Mike. That would be so incredible. She smiled a little at the thought. She had always loved the water, and the trees, and just. . .well, everything natural. She had spent the most time in the Forest Dome and Mountain Dome because they reminded her so much of her home. Many times she had dreamed of being back in her village with Mike by her side, dressed in the traditional wedding clothes, with the High Priest pronouncing them a mated pair.
It suddenly occurred to her that things were very quiet in there. The room had been filled with the sounds of people talking, and now, only breathing sounded. Her breathing: and someone else's. Her heart almost stopped as she turned around and saw Mike standing there, a slightly confused expression on his face.
All the time that Magna Defender had been using his life-force, he had wondered about those he had left behind. About Leo, about the Rangers, about Maya. Mostly about Leo and Maya, however. He had worried over Leo, and hoped that he would prove to be the hero he knew his brother could be. That promise of potential appeared to be amply fulfilled by now, and Mike was glad that he had been able to see it. What he wanted now, however, was to say something to Maya. To know what had been going on with her, and to be with her. Most of all, he wanted to be with her.
"So, what have you been up to while I was gone?" he asked nonchalantly. "Everyone else has told me everything that happened."
She nodded a little. "Kendrix and I are very close friends now," she replied, starting to tell him of things. "Leo and I have gotten close too."
Mike stiffened, feeling a sudden spike in his heart. Ha...had his brother and Maya fallen in love? He would never have suspected it, but was it possible? "You have?" he asked the question slowly, trying with all his heart not to let the agitation he felt over it show. "That's nice."
"Yes," the Yellow Ranger agreed. "He's a very nice person."
His heart felt as if it were cracking in two as he slowly turned away. "Yes. Very nice." The words repeated slowly. Mike didn't begrudge them their happiness, but he thought he just might want to go die. Again.
He glanced over to her, a frown between his eyebrows. "There's something I should tell you." At her curious motion, he kept on. "I love you, Maya. I know I hardly know you, but ever since I first saw you, I've loved you. All the time I was gone, I kept thinking about two people, Leo and you. I hope you guys are happy together."
Mike started to turn away, to leave, when a hand landed firmly on his shoulder. "I don't love Leo, Mike," she said quietly and decisively. "I love you. Without you, I stayed awake half the nights and most of the days, trying to figure out why I was mourning someone I hardly knew. It was Kendrix who helped me figure it out, who helped me realize that it was you I've been in love with. Maybe it doesn't make sense, we haven't spent all that much time with each other, but I don't care. I love you, and no one else."
The handsome young man stared at her, obviously not believing his eyes or ears. But when she firmly drew him into her arms and kissed him on the lips, he believed. He felt as if the six months of near-death had been worth it, just for this one moment of being in her arms. Their arms tightened about one another, and he moved back just enough to give himself space to breathe and to speak the words he had wanted to tell her for so long.
"I love you, Maya."
Her smile was bright enough to light up a thousand galaxies in return, and she murmured them back to him with all her heart in them. The two of them moved closer together once more, and neither wanted to leave the other. The battles were over for now, and now, they were together.